There is a reason most families assisted by HOPE Ministries never end up facing the prospect of ending up on the streets again.
That’s because the non-profit that has been helping provide shelter to struggling families and single moms with kids for 26 years does more than provide a roof over the heads of clients for two months before sending them on their way. HOPE works with their clients to get at the root of what made them homeless and to work with them to address how to resolve issues whether it is the need to better understand budgeting or underlining family issues such as health and emotional issues with children.
“Children in homeless families often have emotional issues due to their situation,” HOPE Family Shelters Chief Executive Officer Cecily Ballungay noted. “If a parent has a child that is having issues at school (and in life in general) it can prevent them from being able to seek employment.”
Two years ago when HOPE Family staff noted more and more children that were part of homeless families were experiencing mental behavior issues. A number were displaying signs of cutting and signs of depression.
Ballungay said such issues tend to be an outgrowth of being homeless where a child has no stable shelter and likely deals with a wide array of issues from hunger to not being able to stay warm.
Given that 60 percent of the 240 people HOPE Ministries assists in its three shelters each year are children, the governing board of the non-profit started more than a quarter of a century ago by a coalition of Manteca churches pushed for the establishment of a program to help children they shelter who are struggling with depression and similar concerns.
That led to the creation of the Children of HOPE program.
HOPE operates three shelters — one serves family, another is for mothers with children, and the other is transitional housing. They are drug-free meaning clients must be clean and stay that way during their stay. HOPE also established HELP Outreach in partnership with the Manteca Homeless Task Force to address issues with those living on the street and work
A family’s stay in a HOPE shelter is typically two months. During that time adults and children have access to counseling services, classes is in budgeting and financing, and — if they are not employed — are coached how to seek employment.
Between 2014 and 2017, HOPE served 948 individuals in 275 families. Of those, 35 percent found permanent housing, less than 9 percent returned to homeless, and the rest either moved in with family members or some other shared arrangement. Typically with shelters in California the success rate at finding permanent housing is 15 percent.
The success rate for 2017 for HOPE clients finding permanent housing hit 44 percent. Even more impressive for 2019 was the fact 100 percent of the clients that did not have a job when they started their two-month stay in the shelter were employed before they left the program.
Businesses, churches, service clubs, and individuals donate $320,000 a year to keep the doors of HOPE shelters open. The rest of the non-profit’s $360,000 annual budget — $40,000 — comes from government sources.
One source of funds is the organization’s annual Texas Hoedown on Saturday, March 7, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. You can play bunco and have dinner for $30, play poker with 2,000 in chips and dinner for $50 (additional buys are available) or simply have dinner that is being catered by Texas Roadhouse for $25. Doors open at 5 p.m. Dinner is at 6 p.m. Bunco and poker starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the HOPE office at 603 E. Yosemite Ave., or call (209) 665-7640 or go to HopeFamilyShelters.org for more information.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com